Tuesday, 13 November 2012

'Train of Thought'

The DART (suburban train) pulled out of Pearse Street Station (Staisiun na bPiarsach – named in honour of brothers Patrick and Willie Pearse, executed by the British for their part in the 1916 Uprising ) on a clear Dublin autumn holiday Monday bound for Malahide. We were for Malahide Castle. This is a lovely part of Ireland, just out of Dublin. In the past it was called the breadbasket of Ireland.

The Talbots built Malahide Castle, first as a single fortified tower in the 12th century, then added a series of towers and joining rooms. The family would live there for 800 years.

Malahide Castle

You are probably aware that the several Ireland chieftains were at war with each other on and off over the centuries, disputing all sorts of things but mainly it was about land and affronts taken. In the 12th century one particular chieftain, who was being worn down by another, rather foolishly as the subsequent troubles in Ireland bear testimony, called on Henry II of England for help. Henry sent an army to his aid and the chieftain, with this help was victorious. Henry promptly rewarded his officers with the best of Irish land – and lots of it.

Lord Richard Talbot was such a knight and in 1170 he was rewarded with the beautiful countryside of Malahide (Mullach Ide meaning sandhills of the Hydes).

So Richard, to protect himself from night time attacks from local disgruntled chieftains, built the first of four fortified towers.

With the exception of about a decade in the mid 17th century when Cromwell confiscated Malahide Castle and installed one of his civil servants therein – a tax collector – the Talbots were at Malahide for 800 years. Finally, in 1973 Lord Milo Talbot died and his sister and heir Rose, burdened with death duties, sold it all up– to the Dublin Council thankfully –and took off to Tasmania where the Talbots had long owned prime grazing land. Rose died there in 2009; the last of the line.

The history of the Talbots is in many ways the history of Ireland.

But, I digress. Back to the DART, the Train of Thought.

I have been impressed as Acting CEO of ISQua by the wide global reach ISQua has. This is exemplified nowhere better than on the ISQua Board where all continents on the planet with the exception of Africa (and the Polar Regions) are represented. And this brings to one table an amazing diversity and range of safety and quality in healthcare issues for the Board to ponder.

The ISQua Conference. They came from near and far. 

How does one, quite small, resource rich but cash poor, yet influential organization decide where to start?

The answer for the ISQua Board was first to understand the issues; then to understand ISQua’s current relationship with each of the world regions; then how it was dealing with the various issues in the various regions; next to undertake a gap analysis; and finally to decide on priorities. This all has to be aligned with resources available to address the issues identified. It certainly helps that we hold our Annual International Conference in a different part of the world each year and involve local organizations in the planning of the Conference. And it helps that we are increasingly convening regional meetings worldwide. In fact, our next regional meeting is to be held in the only continent not represented on our Board. That meeting is to be held in Ghana in February next year. Already in the planning of the Ghana meeting we are learning more about the healthcare challenges facing Ghana and surrounding countries.

I will keep you informed of progress as the ISQua Board tackles these issues.

Now where was I? Ah yes the Talbots. The Talbot legacy lives on in various namings around this part of Ireland. Coincidently, one of my fellow swimmers at the Dublin Council Pool, The Markievicz Centre (and there is another wonderful story, Countess Markievicz, heroine of the rebellion - one of the rebellions at least and one of the heroines – ahh but that is for another BLOG), about which I told you in an earlier BLOG, invited me down to the Celt for a pint last Sunday; when asked where the Celt was located he said ‘Talbot Street of course.’ And so it is!

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